Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kitten Fairies!

The first three of my new series of paintings," Kitten Fairies and Orchids"

"Miss Priss", a darling kitty from my childhood

"Bilbo" The Siamese Kitten

And last , but not least "Hajii" a kitty who was owned by my Mom, but was born at my home! Much loved by all, the original monkey cat!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Garden of Manners

From Heronswood Nursery:
The Fortuneteller’s Garden

I wonder sometimes how spectators felt as they exited the Roman Forum, having observed, say, a Christian eaten by a lion, or two gladiators battling to a bloody death. Did they depart with hearts aflutter, exultant spirits and a bounce to their step? Did they head off to a tranquil taverna and bask in the glow of the day’s revelry?

The Roman spectators, I imagine, felt ghastly–as if part of themselves had been consumed by the lion, or conversely, they themselves had engaged in cannibalism. I imagine that they were enveloped in a dank cloud of shame and self-recrimination–the climate that holds when our lowest natures have been evoked.

I think I know the feeling. Today our media has become an electric Roman Forum, where notions of decorum and dignity have been supplanted by coarseness and brutishness.

On CNN, Fox news and MSNBC–all ostensibly dedicated to informing the public of the news of the world–one is treated instead to a daily carnival of grotesques, a daily food fight of ill-considered, ill-expressed opinions delivered with a shout. It matters not whether the views reflect those of the right or left. Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow all convey the same message: talk, don’t listen; defame, don’t defer; discord trumps discourse.

The American public has followed these talking heads into the Tower of Babel that is the new media. Glance at the readers’ online postings affixed to an article at the Washington Post or any major online media outlet, and the same willful crudeness and misapprehension is everywhere in evidence. Hiding behind the anonymity of a screen name, impervious to the consequences of their rudeness, I can hear America whinging.

It used to be said that Americans were rude when young, and polite when grown up. Europeans, by contrast, were polite children who grew into rude adults. I do not think that matters–or manners–remain that clear-cut today.

To the contemporary mind, manners can seem like an incursion on democracy, an arbitrary, restrictive code imposed from without that stifles expression and spontaneity. In this view, manners are inauthentic, insincere contrivances employed to indicate class or status–a velvet glove with which to club the less sophisticated into submission.

Some confuse manners with etiquette, its close relative. Writing thank you letters (Napoleon wrote,: “A letter not answered in five days, answers itself.”), properly setting a table and correctly serving tea are all fine things. One might observe all these niceties with utter fidelity and yet never rise to the magnificence of manners.

True manners are far from a cultural ready-made; they are in fact a triumph of the imagination. They stem from an understanding and respect for the feelings of others. They are the Golden Rule in action: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Too Biblical? I offer you Confucius, “Do not do to others, what you would not have them do unto you.”

The Republic of Manners is altogether democratic. Manners are oblivious to considerations of income, class and education. As any reader of history knows, Royalty and Aristocracy have supplied us with boors of legendary crassness and brutality. As any observer of mankind can attest, people of slender means, possessing little else, can be rich in sublime manners and unbought grace.

Which brings us, naturally, to the garden. The Garden of Eden, we recall, is where sin was born, when Adam and Eve defied God’s injunction and ate of the Apple of Knowledge. “In Adam’s Fall, we sinned all.” Bad manners are the bitter fruit of this mother of all faux-pas.

The garden also represents a perfect testing ground for manners. Here, so unlike cyberspace, every insult, every sin of omission and commission becomes a cause with palpable effect. Act thoughtlessly or impetuously and the effects of your action are readily reflected in the health of your plants and flowers. Nature is exacting in matters of etiquette; ignore this fact and your garden will devolve in a wasteland. The garden is not just a refuge from civilization; it is civilization’s sanctuary.

Thus, I give you The Garden Of Manners—as simple and effective a pre-school as these economically troubled times allow a young family. A Victorian writer wrote, “Let us repair to a cool place of retreat at the point of interrogation.” In these parlous times, let us pay heed. Ladies and Gentlemen, shall we take a look about the garden?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Florida Bald Eagles

At dusk most every evening , around the bend on the golf course, a pair of eagles stops by for a few minutes. First, one arrives, then a few minutes later the other. They always "talk" a lot when they see each other. Their nest is about 1/2 mile away.

They only stay 20 minutes or so, then fly off. They repeat this ritual in the early morning at dawn, then again at dusk. Not sure why.
These eagles do not migrate, they stay year round here, I have seen them for several years now.
For a nest map view click on the following link and type in zip code 32779
(sorry I could not figure out how to get the map on here)

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Store is now open!

Finally, I have started up the new store on Etsy for my Gouache paintings. Right now I only have a couple of items, check back soon for more!

Buy Handmade

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Toxic Foods for Dogs

As a puppy trainer at dog school I often get asked about certain foods you should and should not feed your dog. Here is a good list of certain foods that may be toxic to your dog and puppy.
. Unfortunately, there are many we are not often aware of that are just as dangerous. Below is a list of common foods that are harmful to dogs.

Toxic Foods:


Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.

After their pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours. Symptoms include Staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma, death.

Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell.

Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.


Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger.

Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body. Symptoms include Hemolytic Anemia, labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine.

The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness.

While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness.


Mushroom toxicity does occur in dogs and it can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are eaten. Amanita phalloides is the most commonly reported severely toxic species of mushroom in the US but other Amanita species are toxic. Symptoms include Abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, coma, death


As few as a handful of raisins or grapes can make a dog ill; however, of the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

Macadamia Nuts:

Macadamia nuts are another concern, along with most other kinds of nuts. Their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.

NOTE: Pets owners should not assume that human food is always safe for pets. When it comes to chocolate, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts, such foods should be given in only small quantities, or not at all. Be sure that your pets can’t get into your stash of chocolates, that food scraps are disposed of carefully to prevent onion and garlic toxicity and that your dog is prevented from picking up macadamia nuts if you have a tree in your garden.

Baby Food:

Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.

Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources:

Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.

Cat Food:

Cat food is generally too high in protein and fats.

Fat Trimmings:

Can cause pancreatitis.

Milk and other dairy products:

Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.

Raw Eggs:

Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw Fish:

Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Artisans Challenge is Back

From Blockhead Radio:
All you Artisans out there make a note of this date:

March 23rd

Some may remember... some may be hearing about it for the first time! Either way there's a bit of construction going' on over at Blockhead Radio as we prepare to relaunch a cool weekly contest. Seriously, if you head over there you will hear power saws, drills and jack hammer's workin' 24 hours a day. Okay, no you won't but you WILL hear some really great music by indie artists :)

Formerly known as the Etsy Challenge (the name was change to protect the innocent...) and then renamed as the Artisan's Challenge because there are soooo many great venues out there for selling handmade.... and then the whole shebang came crumbling down. It was feared that the challenge would never be heard from again.

Yes, the Artisan's Challenge is being dug up from the depths of the internet graveyard!

For those who may have never heard of the Artisan's Challenge, let me tell ya what it's all about. There are 12 different categories with 60 different artisans every week (5 submissions in each category). The winner's of the categories from the previous week then face off in a weekly challenge!

So head on over, read the rules and enter your submissions now! You'll be notified when it's your week in the challenge. Then its up to you to tell your friends... your family... your neighbors... the people in the checkout line at the grocery store... to go vote for you in the

What's in it for you? Besides lots of people seeing your item when they vote?? Besides FREE publicity for your shop??? Besides all the fun????

It just so happens that the winner of the weekly challenge will now win a audio commercial with a banner to play the entire following week on Blockhead Radio! That's even MORE FREE publicity for your shop!

Remember, it's ANY selling venue! Entries are being accepted now so hurry and get your submission in.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tortie Tuesday/ Beaded Tail

This Tortie Tuesday is brought to you today by Beaded Tail Jewelry. I have made several Fairy Cats now and wanted to make a tortoiseshell, I have never owned one , so I looked to my friends and Sharla of Beaded Tail kindly sent me several pictures of Isabella. You can see Isabella on her blog here.
I also wanted everyone to know the great job these women are doing with their shop! The proceeds are all donated toCharity! What a wonderful thing this mother and daughter are doing together. So here is a paw it forward to you Beaded Tail !
Visit her shop today and purchase something knowing it is for the greater good!

Beaded Tail Bio
Hello! I'm Sharla and along with my mom, Sheri, we are using our love of creating beaded jewelry to benefit our love for animals. Recent news reports regarding animal hardships have put us into action to design and create beaded jewelry which we will give a portion of the sales proceeds to animal awareness causes. Each of our one of a kind designs contains an animal theme from paw toggles to cat face beads or animal awareness ribbon charms or butterflies.

Our items come from a smoke free environment, however, we are owned by both cats and dogs.

The following are a list of the organizations that we support:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ....
Humane Society for the United States ....
Dogs for the Deaf....
Alley Cat Allies....
Chintimini Wildlife Rescue ....

Total 2008 Donations $407 - Thank you to all our customers!

Our January 2009 donation was $44.50 to The Anderson House - safe home for women and children affected by domestic violence.

Copies of receipts are available upon request.

I have had pets literally all my life and currently my husband and I have a Husky named Sadie that was rescued from a puppy mill by the humane society and we have two cats, Isabella and Angel, that we adopted from the humane society in 2006. My mom has an American Eskimo named Samy that she adopted after someone got him as a puppy and was unable to take care of him. Our animals are a huge part of our lives and now live like royalty!

In addition to our current pets, we've had many wonderful pets that we've adopted from the humane society or had found abandoned so we certainly know that there is a great need for animal awareness education to prevent overpopulation, abused and homeless animals. We are grateful to be able to sell our jewelry here on Etsy in order to benefit animals.

We're making tails wag one bead at a time!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tagged again...

I got tagged by Threads of Magique in a game of blog tag. game rules: pick out the sixth photo in the sixth picture file on your computer and write a bog about it, then tag six other bloggers. Pretty simple, join in if you'd like, and pass it on.

"Let your thoughts rest here awhile
in beauty and in love"

André Smith, Founder - Inscription at Chapel entrance

Here's my picture. It's the chapel over at The Maitland Art Center. I did my college internship here. I spent many hours working on the gardens, they are in much need of tender loving care. The place was neglected for many years, and now plans are under way to restore this landmark.
The Maitland Art Center was founded as an art colony (called the Research Studio) in 1938 by visionary American artist and architect André Smith (1880-1959). This tradition continues at MAC today, with gallery exhibitions, resident artists (Artists-in-Action), a strong curriculum of art instruction in an intimate atmosphere, and community programming. Visit this historic, aesthetic gem set in the middle of busy, growing Central Florida.

The Art Center is one of the few surviving examples of "fantasy" architecture in the Southeast, the Center has been recognized by the State of Florida as a historic site and has been entered on the National Register of Historic Places. It features Mayan/Aztec motifs and includes 23 separate structures linked by beautiful gardens and courtyards.Founded in the 1938 by visionary artist and architect Jules André Smith (1880-1959), the Center was originally called the Research Studio, hosting a number of famous painters, sculptors, and printmakers, including: Milton Avery, Ralston Crawford, Doris Lee, and Boris Margo. Today, that tradition continues with resident artists (Artists-in-Action), and a strong curriculum of art instruction in an atmosphere which encourages experimentation and creativity.

I do not like tagging others, so if you are reading this and need a posting for your blog, feel free to be tagged